by Tamara Igleheart
– Photojournalist —
August 5, 2017 at the Forum in Inglewood, CA> —
On Aug. 5, scores of people filed into the Forum in Inglewood, Calif., to bear witness to the performance of three Metal heavyweights. Slayer, Lamb of God and Behemoth played a sold-out show to an arena packed with hardcore fans. Although band tees bearing the name of each band could be seen among the thousands of patrons, it was clear who the people were there to see. Slayer, the reigning kings of Metal, stole the show with the most anticipated act of the night. All three bands gave outstanding performances that melted faces and left the audience hungry for more.
Theatrical is one of the best ways to describe Polish Black/Death Metal band Behemoth. Lead vocalist and guitarist Adam “Nergal” Darksi emerged from backstage, holding stick-like objects that were on fire, face hidden beneath a hood and with only a spotlight to light the stage. He knelt down, as if taking part in a ritual. When the lights went up, the band began its first song of the set. The band took the stage right at 7 p.m., and although people were still making their way to the venue, those that were lucky enough to see Behemoth were entertained, to say the least. They wore full faces of corpse paint and costume-like attire. They displayed ample energy and enthusiasm, which engaged the audience. Toward the end of the set, rhythm guitarist and backing vocalist Patryk Dominik Sztyber, also known by the stage name, “Seth,” spat a mouthful of fake blood into the audience, showering the people in the first few rows. Those who were unfamiliar with Behemoth’s music walked away as new fans, and those who have followed the band since day one were left with memories from an unforgettable night.
Nergal- Lead vocals/lead and acoustic guitar
Seth- Rhythm and lead guitar
Connect with Behemoth at: www.behemoth.pl.
Lamb of God was next to command the attention of the Forum. The band utilized two large video screens that depicted bloody and desolate scenes throughout the set that perfectly complemented their music. From the moment that Randy Blythe exploded onto the stage shrouded in the fog of four large smoke cannons, he never stopped moving. At this point, more fans had filled the seats and floor of the venue, and the energy of the crowd grew increasingly ecstatic. Between songs, Blythe divulged to the audience that this was Lamb of God’s first time playing at the Forum. “This is a special night for us,” he proclaimed. A special night it, indeed, was for thousands of fans who chanted lyrics back at the band and the majority of the floor, which had broken out into a mosh pit for the entire time the band was on stage. Meanwhile, beer cups were thrown around by those on the general admission floor, and everyone appeared to headbang their hearts out. At the end of the set, instead of the infamous Wall of Death, Blythe called for a giant mosh pit, and the crowd happily obliged. You haven’t fully enjoyed a Lamb of God show if you’re not a little sore at the end!
Lamb of God is:
Randy Blythe- Vocals
Mark Morton- Guitar
Will Adler- Guitar
John Campbell- Bass
Chris Adler- Drums
Connect with Lamb of God at: www.lamb-of-god.com.
Anticipation grew when a white curtain was lowered to shield the audience’s view of the stage as the crew prepared for Slayer’s arrival. The venue had completely filled as fans eagerly awaited the main event. Those in the general admission floor area moved forward, hoping to get as close to the legends as possible. After a few agonizing moments, the lights went down, and the already overjoyed crowd exploded, knowing that their heroes were about to play before their eyes. Steady chants of “Slayer!” rang throughout the arena as pictures of inverted crosses and pentagrams danced on the white curtain. Finally, after what must have felt like eons, the curtain dropped, giving the crowd a full view of the band, and they wasted no time ripping into their opening song, “Repentless.” A large backdrop depicting a photo of what appeared to be a bloody Jesus with a large pentagram behind him lined the back of the stage. Between songs, the photo on the backdrop glowed in the dark. In true Slayer fashion, pyrotechnics shot off in the shape of crosses in time with the bass drum during the song “Disciple.” The crowd hungrily ate up the theatrics and blasphemous scenes that the band displayed, and the energy of the room was at an all-time high. If the mosh pits for the other acts were large, somehow the entire floor managed to transform into one for these Metal titans. The band played perfectly, and there was not a fan in attendance that was not moving to the music or singing along. Although the liveliness of the crowd seemed to grow with each song, the climax of the night came with the songs “Seasons in the Abyss” and “Raining Blood,” as these are two of their most well known. The band closed the show with “Angel of Death,” and the crowd took their final chance to let loose by the horns. When Slayer left the stage, the fans left the venue covered in sweat, bruises, and smiles.
Tom Araya- Vocals/bass
Kerry King- Guitar
Paul Bostaph- Drums
Gary Holt- Guitar
Connect with Slayer at: www.slayer.net.
When you think of the Metal genre, it would not be farfetched to assume that Slayer and Lamb of God would be among the first bands to come to mind. These two, combined with Behemoth, have formed the perfect touring unholy trinity. Entertaining theatrics and incredible stage presences are just a couple of the great qualities these bands have in common. It is worth mentioning that although Slayer has pressed on in face of Jeff Hanneman’s death, he will never be forgotten. Many people in the audience could be overheard discussing how much he is missed. The impact that all three of the bands have on their fans continues to ripple outward and will keep growing as long as new generations of metalheads attend phenomenal shows like the one Los Angeles had the pleasure to witness at the Forum.